I’m sure we are all aware of the fantastic range of chocolates offered by Hotel Chocolat, but something that you might not know is they also sell a selection of intriguing savoury cocoa products.
One of the items in their cuisine range is this luxurious sounding tapenade. It consists of chocolate, black truffle, olives, mushrooms and cocoa nibs. I couldn’t resist trying it out as a light lunch with it spread on hot seeded toast, with an accompaniment of pickled walnuts, olives and some Tyrrells.
First thing I noticed was that it spread really easily when it came out of the jar, the consistency is quite thin but the cocoa nibs add a nice texture. The aroma is a little strange, there is mushroom, a herby garlic smell and chocolate all mixed in to the scent. When I first bit in I wasn’t sure if the flavour was going to work, but I was very wrong. The truffle, mushrooms and olives give a very rich taste, and the chocolate adds both sweet and woody tones which help to balance the flavours really well. The more I ate the more the flavours grew on me, and I really wanted a second slice of toast by the end of my lunch.
The flavour is rather clever and it feels substantial, and almost meaty with its rich tastes. I have decided that the next time I use this tapenade I will spread it on bread, add some mozzarella slices on top with some sun dried tomatoes and grill it until the cheese melts a little, as it is clear that this tapenade had a multitude of uses, and will work well with a variety of other flavours. The label also states that it can be added to sauces from stews through to pasta and even on steak, so I think it is useful to have a jar in the cupboard.
This is one of those ingredients everyone should have as like pesto the hard work has been done for you, and there is a wonderful medley of flavours just waiting to be released in a variety of ways. This tapenade just as easily makes the perfect snack, as it does quick canapés or even the centre piece steak baste.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what else the Hotel Chocolat savouries range has to offer.